Then Why Do We Keep Intervening?

As Lincoln said, you can fool all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. A poll has found that most Americans don’t think that all of our military interventions over the last several decades has made us any safer:

Arlington, Va.— A new poll shows Americans are unaware of the United States’ current overseas commitments, disconnected with the burden placed on military families, and believe our men and women in uniform are overstretched. By and large, our nation’s veterans share this perspective.

This comes on the heels of the revelation that the U.S. military is deployed in Niger, a fact which was unknown to 71% of the general public and 55% of veterans. The poll, released today by the Charles Koch Institute (CKI) and RealClearPolitics, surveyed 1,000 members of the American public, including 500 active military and veterans. The survey, taken at the end of October 2017, showed Americans are not confident that U.S. military involvement abroad makes their families safer at home.

“Americans are unclear of all the places where the U.S. military is engaged, concerned about whether our foreign policy has been making us safer, and wary of war with North Korea. These views are also shared by veterans,” said Will Ruger, vice president for research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute. “This survey shows that veterans are actually a diverse group when it comes to issues of using force abroad. They aren’t all enthusiastic about relying on military power to solve problems, as is sometimes stereotypically assumed. The majority don’t believe that challenging the wisdom of the United States’ current approach to the world is unpatriotic and are divided on things like whether additional military engagement abroad would make America safer.”

Now if we could just convince the Congress to trust the evidence of their own lyin’ eyes. IMO our repeated military interventions over the years have less to do with American public opinion and a lot more to do with the Congress’s estimation of risks and rewards.

What’s the greatest risk? From a Congressman’s point of view it’s not being re-elected. I don’t believe any Congressman anywhere has ever lost his or her seat because she or he supported a feckless intervention. They’re worried that if they don’t support an intervention against Country or Group X and an attack on the U. S. emanates from Country or Group X, their constituents will be mad enough about it that they’ll vote them out of office. The problem with that line of reasoning is that there’s no limit to it.

That’s one of the reasons that I believe in Congressmen who have more at stake than just holding on to their offices until they’re too old and decrepit to teeter up the Capitol steps.

2 comments… add one
  • Bob Sykes

    Our military is not only over committed, it is likely making maximum possible effort right now. This is exacerbated by major budget problems leading to massive overdue maintenance backlogs and poor training. Looming on the horizon is a major war in the Middle East involving Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Lebanon and others. A war in Korea or Ukraine is still poassible. The possibility of a catastrophic military defat for the US is large. God knows what happens after that, but WW III possible. We won’t win this time.

  • Gray shambler

    Courage, Courage. Courage.

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